| History of Feeling Strangely Fine
Shortly after getting off the road from touring
behind Great Divide (some would
say too shortly!) Dan called Jake and John up and told them he had
a batch of new songs he wanted to show them. The band got together
down in John's basement with soundman Brad
Kern, and with a couple of mics hung from the pipes overhead,
they heard/recorded Dan singing and playing about a dozen new songs.
Among these songs were "Closing Time", "Made to Last",
Over the next couple of weeks Dan wrote another
thirty or forty songs and, inspired by his example, John and Jake
put together twenty or so of their own.
Suddenly and unexpectedly sitting on a trove of
over 60 new songs, the guys started to feel that it was time to
make a new cd. They began planning an unorthodox method of recording.
First, it would involve recording no demotapes beyond simple guitar
and vocal basement sketches. Instead the album versions would be
the first band recordings of the songs. The guys thought this would
result in greater spontanaeity and soul in the studio. Second, there
would be no deadline for the finished masters -- "we'll know
when we're done", they announced. Finally, the trio wanted
to create tracks for the album in various hi- and lo-tech settings
around Minneapolis, and use their computers to graft the different
worlds together. Waving these three flags, John, Jake and Dan decided
to move operations to an abandoned antique store in downtown Minneapolis
that they thought could be a cool place to record some of the new
material. As even more songs brewed, calls were made to the record
company, and flags were waved.
Meanwhile, two doors down from the antique store/rehearsal
studio a different kind of musical odyssey was going down. A brand
new studio was being built with an emphasis on flavor and vibes.
Underbelly, as it's called, was going to be finished right about
the time Semisonic figured they'd be ready to record.
The last ingredient was to find a producer who was
willing to work with a band unwilling to make full-fledged demos
of the songs they were writing, and who furthermore insisted on
being allowed to take as long as necessary to complete the record
to their satisfaction. Nick Launay fit the bill to an unconventional
Nick arrived in Minneapolis in April 97 and a week
later the last wires were laid and the last boards nailed in place
at Seedy Underbelly. Half the band's stuff was moved to the new
studio two doors down and the rest was left in the antique store,
which became the "b room" for time-consuming sampling
experiments, string arranging, crazy concoctions and whatever else
the band members and Brad Kern could cook up.
The band recorded over twenty songs during the ensuing
four months and then cut the list down to the sixteen which turned
out best. They took those tapes out to Bob Clearmountain's studio
in California, mixed them down and then distilled the list down
to the twelve which made the best record.
Two videos have been made for Feeling Strangely
Fine so far, one for Closing Time and one for Singing In My Sleep.